Following protests by Hindu groups who say they've used the swastika as a religious symbol for millennia, Germany announced Monday that it has dropped plans to outlaw the sign throughout the European Union.
Germany, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, still wants to make Holocaust denial illegal throughout the EU to stem racism and xenophobia.
"Public incitement of violence and hatred or the denial or trivialization of genocide with racist or xenophobic motives" should be criminalized EU-wide, German officials said in Brussels on Monday. "But the plan does not include a ban on certain symbols such as swastikas."
The German EU presidency hopes that EU members will come to an agreement on the plan during the meeting in Luxembourg on April 19 and 20.
A similar attempt to make Holocaust denial illegal by Luxembourg in 2005 was blocked by Britain, Denmark and notably Italy, where Silvio Berlusconi's center-right coalition was still in power. The new Italian government under Romano Prodi introduced a national bill over the weekend that would impose jail time for inciting racial hatred.
In Europe, only Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Romania and Spain have laws that specifically target revisionism.
Germany's top diplomat has visited pro-EU demonstrators in Ukraine's capital, telling them the "gates of the EU are still open" despite President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign a pact to formalize ties.
Diaries written by the famed German explorer Alexander von Humboldt as he toured central and southern America 200 years ago are to be sold by his descendants. Germany's Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation is the buyer.
Germany's states are petitioning the country's highest court for the second time to ban the far-right NPD. Although their motives are commendable, the real problem goes much deeper, says DW's Marcel Fürstenau.